Reducing Read Time of Point of Care Test Does Not Affect Detection of Hepatitis C Virus and Reduces Need for Reflex RNA.

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Global elimination of hepatitis C virus (HCV) will require increases in diagnosis. Point of care (POC) tests that detect antibodies against HCV can be useful for testing large and difficult to reach populations. The most accurate POC test requires a 20 min read time to identify antibody-positive samples. We investigated whether viremic patients could be identified using a shorter read time, to increase efficiency and reduce the need for reflex tests (a follow-up test for HCV RNA on the same specimen, to confirm viremia).Patients with past or current HCV infections provided samples at 2 clinics in Canada for evaluation by the OraQuick HCV Rapid antibody POC test. A community HCV-screening program in Madrid, Spain (real-world cohort) invited people to be tested for HCV with the same OraQuick test. Patients provided samples of whole blood, via finger prick. Finger-prick samples were tested immediately after collection. In the clinical cohort, photographs of the developing test were taken at 15 second intervals, and blinded readers recorded the time to positivity. In the real-world cohort, readers recorded the OraQuick result each minute, from 5-10 minutes and then again at 20 minutes; viremia was then evaluated using a POC HCV RNA test (GeneXpert HCV Viral Load Assay). Sera from viremic and non-viremic clinic patients were used to quantify antibody titers to investigate the relationship between the time of band appearance and antibody concentration. Fisher's exact test and exact logistic regression were used to determine factors associated with a positive result at 5 minutes.Blood from all viremic patients produced a positive result in the antibody POC test by 5 min. Median time to a positive result for 171 viremic patients was 2.6 min (range, 1.8-4.6 min), vs 4.1 min (range, 2.3-14.4 min) for 108 patients with resolved infection (P


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